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No Going Back

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

"Powerful…. The excellent pacing and heart-wrenching exploration of redemption will sweep readers up." —Kirkus Reviews

"A page-turning, highly readable story." —Booklist

"Time-stamped chapters add urgency, intensity, and excitement as the thrilling plot progresses, making for a page-turning story about forgiveness and personal evolution." —Publishers Weekly

"The fast pace of the book will keep readers engaged as they bounce between the present and the past …. the energy of Antonio’s story will sweep interested readers along, and they will sympathize with his desire to become the person he knows he can be throughout this novel focused on friendship, loyalty and redemption." —Bookpage

In this tour de force about one teen’s quest for redemption from the award-winning author of American Road Trip, Antonio is determined to make amends to the people he hurt most—even if it means breaking the terms of his early release from juvenile detention.

It’s Friday morning, and seventeen-year-old Antonio Sullivan is on the verge of earning his early release from Zephyr Woods Youth Detention Center. Having been incarcerated for the last year and a half for a crime he didn’t directly commit, he’s now dedicating himself to his education and his sobriety program. What’s more, Antonio is driven by a deep need to make amends to the two people he hurt the most: his mom and his lifelong best friend, Maya. The conditions of his early release are clear—Antonio can’t have any contact with his father or miss his first meeting with his parole officer Monday morning. But a lot can happen between Friday and Monday, especially when the odds are against you.

Told through time-stamped chapters that race at a fever pitch over the course of a weekend, this absorbing coming-of-age novel explores what it means to right past wrongs in the face of adversity.

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9780316407502

Regular Price $18.99

Regular Price $24.99 CAD

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About the Author

Patrick Flores-Scott is the acclaimed author of the award-winning novels Jumped In and American Road Trip, which was named a YALSA Best Fiction Book, a TAYSHAS Reading List Selection, an SLJ National Hispanic Heritage Month pick, and a Teen Vogue Best Gift Book, and was licensed to WEBTOON for graphic digital serialization. Patrick taught public school in Seattle, Washington, for many years and has written for theater and the slam poetry stage. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with his family and invites you to visit him online at patrickfloresscott.com.

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From NOVL Nation

“This fast-paced narrative delves into the profound experience of being misunderstood, skillfully portrayed through authentic and compelling prose. With its gripping storyline and heart-wrenching exploration of family dynamics, friendship, and the pursuit of redemption, this book will undoubtedly keep you engrossed until the final page.”

– Patti, @lovelyloveday


Book Club Guide

1. Antonio opens the book by asking the reader to “keep these words in mind: On our journey to growing and developing into the ideal whole persons we hope to become, we are all just stumbling forward in the dark, searching to find our way the very best we can” (p. viii). What does this mean to you?

2. Mrs. Williams instructs Antonio in breathing exercises to help manage his thoughts. How does breathing recur throughout the book? Why do you think this technique is helpful?

3. What do responsibility and accountability look like to Antonio and the people in his life? How do you think someone can effectively apologize and make amends?

4. What does home mean to Antonio? Does that meaning change over the course of the book? How?

5. What do parents and children owe one another? How do Antonio’s relationships with his parents and parent-figures evolve? What does it look like to take care of someone

6. Antonio conveys his present in prose but shares his past in verse. What do these different styles reveal? Why do you think they are written this way?

7. In what ways does the past mirror the present? Are we doomed to repeat our family’s mistakes?

8. How do trust and communication factor into Antonio’s friendships? Who shows up for Antonio?

9. The actions of No Going Back happen during the span of a single weekend. How does Antonio relate to time? How does this compressed timeline impact the reading experience?

10. Gary tells Antonio that “sometimes you gotta say goodbye so a fresh start can happen” (p. 302). What do you think he means by this? Who and what does Antonio say goodbye to?

11. How do you think Antonio’s experience in Zephyr Woods may have helped or hindered his development?

12. At the end of the book, do you think the story Antonio tells will keep him from being sent back to Zephyr Woods? Should it?